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Police + Fire

Greater Manchester communities to benefit from additional police officers

Local policing is to be bolstered by more than 300 additional police officers as part of plans to tackle increasing and complex crime across Greater Manchester in the face of Government cuts.

Proposals to increase the policing element of the council tax have been backed by the Police and Crime Panel on Thursday, January 31, and follows a public consultation, where 59% of people who had their say backed the increase of £24 per year for a Band D household.

Speaking at the Panel meeting, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes made it clear that the additional £18m raised through the council tax increase will be invested in improving the local police service.

That means that in the coming year we will:

  • Recruit 320 additional police officers to strengthen neighbourhood teams and policing of the transport network.
  • Continue to improve the 101 non-emergency service
  • Increase the grants to local authorities to fund community safety initiatives
  • Invest in new approaches to tackle serious violent crime and violence against women and girls.

Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said: “I want to thank Panel members for supporting this proposal, and also to the communities of Greater Manchester for backing their local police service. I also want to be clear that this has been a difficult decision to make. However, in light of the Government’s continued failure to fund Greater Manchester Police fairly, we have been left with very little choice to ask residents to pay a little more to ensure we can keep our communities safe.”

Cllr Tamoor Tariq, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel said: “Our police officers continue to go above and beyond every day to keep us safe, as resources have shrunk and crime has gone up. Yet the Home Secretary has failed to follow through on promises to back our police. Despite repeated calls from myself as Chair of the Panel we have had nothing more than warm words with very little action.

“The Panel and I have supported the council tax proposals put forward by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, but we do so with heavy hearts and a renewed plea to Government to fairly fund our police without local taxpayers bearing the brunt.”

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “I am pleased that we will have able to move some way towards the 7,000 officers I believe we need to police Greater Manchester. I am grateful for the support we have had from local people who are being asked to pay more for policing. The additional officers will be a welcome boost and provide a proactive policing team working across Greater Manchester and support neighbourhood policing.”

Around 80% of GMP’s budget comes a central government grant, but this funding has been cut by £250m since 2010, resulting in the loss of 2,000 police officers and 1,000 police staff. This is against a backdrop of increasing crime and complex demand such as cybercrime, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. In December, the Government badged a £15m increase in the police grant as investment in local policing, when it reality it will merely cover the police pension shortfall.

Bev Hughes added: “Time and time again the Government has shamefully passed the financial burden of local policing onto local taxpayers, at a time when threat levels are severe and crime continues to rise. Whilst our plans to strengthen officer numbers is good news, we are still a long way off mitigating the cuts – and damage – caused by this Government’s disregard for public safety.”

The increase of £24 will take the annual bill for policing for a band D home from £174.30 to £198.30.

Band B is the average Council Tax Band in Greater Manchester. For these properties the police precept would be £154.24 per annum, which is the equivalent of £2.97 per week – an increase of 36p per week.

The Mayor is responsible for setting the budget for policing, the fire service and other mayoral functions, which local people contribute to through a part of their council tax bills called the mayoral “precept”. You can read more information about the proposed precept for the fire service and mayoral functions here. These plans will go to a special meeting of Greater Manchester Combined Authority on 15 February.

Article Published: 01/02/2019 09:06 AM